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The U.S. government is opposing Microsoft in a $290 million Supreme Court patent-infringement case in which the software giant is pushing for a change to the way patents are determined to be valid or invalid.
The Feds join 21 other parties that have filed amicus curiae, or “friend of the court,” briefs in support of i4i Inc., a Toronto-based company that is suing Microsoft for allegedly using its patented XML-authoring technology in Word. Aside from winning in November a spot on the Supreme Court’s docket, Microsoft has lost nearly every step of the way since a federal judge ruled in 2009 that Microsoft had to alter Word or stop selling the cash cow altogether.
In the brief – signed by officials from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), Solicitor General’s Office and Attorney General’s Office – the Feds defend a longstanding standard by which a patent can only be found invalid by “clear and convincing evidence.” In its petition to the Supreme Court, Microsoft is arguing the legal bar should be lowered, whereby a court could deem a patent invalid by a “preponderance of evidence.”